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Chencholai bombing

Chencholai bombing
Srilankabeslan.jpg
School girls killed in the incident
LocationMullaitivu, Mullaitivu District, Sri Lanka
DateAugust 14, 2006 (+6 GMT)
TargetSuspected Sri Lankan Tamil rebels
Attack type
Air bombing
WeaponsBombs
Deaths61 girls
Non-fatal injuries
155+ [1]
PerpetratorsSri Lankan Airforce

Chencholai bombing (also spelt as Sencholai) took place on August 14, 2006 when the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed what it said was a rebel LTTE training camp, killing 61 girls aged 16 to 18.[2][3][4][5] The LTTE, UNICEF, SLMM and UTHR all said those in the compound were not LTTE cadres.[6]

Incident and reactions

The Sri Lankan government claimed to be monitoring the site since 2004 and claimed that it was a training camp and clearly stating that it was not mistaken or wrong target.

The Tamil Nadu state assembly in India passed a resolution termed the Chencholai orphanage bombing as 'uncivilized, barbaric, inhumane and atrocious'.[7]

The human rights organisation UTHR reported that LTTE had organized this first aid class and that these children were not Child Soldiers. It further claimed that this camp was used by LTTE but not as a training camp.[8]

United Nations spokeswomen Orla Clinton said that students had been killed in the attack and they seem to have been students between 16 and 18, A-level students, from the Kilinochichi and Mullaittivu areas, who were on a two-day training course. [9]

Tamil National Alliance condemned the airstrike: "This attack is not merely atrocious and inhuman - it clearly has a genocidal intent. It is yet another instance of brazen state terrorism,” [10][11]

UNICEF

UNICEF staff from a nearby office immediately visited the compound to assess the situation and to provide fuel and supplies for the hospital as well as counselling support for the injured students and the bereaved families. Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director, stated that "These children are innocent victims of violence" while UNICEF's Joanne Van Gerpen said "At this time, we don't have any evidence that they are LTTE cadres".[12][13]

SLMM

Retired major general of the Swedish Army, Ulf Henricsson the Head of the Nordic truce monitors SLMM said that his staff had not finished counting the dead and that they couldn’t find any sign of military installations or weapons.[14]

Sri Lanka government

Sri Lanka government spokesmen Keheliya Rambukwela and Brigadier Athula Jayawardene told the media in Colombo that the orphanage was in fact a training and transit camp for the LTTE's military cadres. The camp, Jayawardene pointed out, did not look like an orphanage at all or any civilian structure for that matter. Rambukwela and Jayawardene argued that, even if the victims were minors (under 18 years of age) and girls, they were soldiers or soldiers under training. The Sri Lankan refused to condemn the incident or order any inquiry. The government also showed journalists, as Reuters reported, what appeared to be satellite footage of Tigers fleeing a training camp shortly after Kfir jets bombed it.[15]

However, a journalist who viewed the tapes stated,

On September 1, Sri Lankan police said they arrested three young women -aged 18, 19 and 20 - whom they said were injured in the airstrike and were subsequently brought to a hospital in central Sri Lanka for treatment. Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando said the three young women all claimed that they were taken by a member of the Tamil Tigers to a camp deep within rebel territory for first aid training but when they reached the camp, they were forced to undergo weapons training.[17]

North East Secretariat on Human Rights statement

In the Senchcholai complex in Vallipunam in the Mullaithivu district hundreds of female students in the age group of 17-20 were gathered on 10 August 2006 for a weeklong training in leadership and first aid which was intended for preparing the students for leadership in their school and community during the impending war.[18]

On 14 August 2006 around 7.30am, Sri Lankan Air Force carried out extensive bombing. 52 students and two staff were killed. 130 students were seriously injured. Many more received minor injuries. Three of the injured girls lost one leg and another girl lost an eye.

A further three of the injured girls were sent by the Mullaithivu hospital to Kandy for treatment. Sri Lankan Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) immediately put the three injured girls under arrest. The three girls were eventually cleared and were brought to Vavuniya hospital to return to their homes in Vanni when one of the injured girls died. The other two girls were immediately taken back Kandy hospital. Eventually the whereabouts of the two girls Kasthuri Sripathy and Sumithra Balasingham became mysterious except that their parents were permitted to meet the girls at prearranged locations. The parents of the girls remain at a loss as to the detention of the two girls without charges for almost two years.[18][19]

References

  1. ^ Jeyaraj, DBS. "Aerial Terror results in massacre of innocents". Transcurrents. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  2. ^ "61 girls killed in airstrike, 8 dead in Colombo blast (2nd Roundup)". Monsters and Critics. 14 August 2006.
  3. ^ "61 schoolgirls killed, 129 wounded in airstrike". Tamilnet.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  4. ^ Karthick, R.M. "Chencholai in image and words: A personal account". Jdslanka.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Tenth anniversary of Chencholai children orphanage bombing marked in Jaffna - Ceylon News". Ceylonews.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  6. ^ Huggler, Justin (2006-08-16). "Sri Lankan army warns children can be targets". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  7. ^ Tamil nadu government slams bombing Archived August 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Welcome to UTHR, Sri Lanka". Uthr.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Sri Lankan air force bombing kills scores of students - Asian Tribune". Asiantribune.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Sencholai attack "pre-meditated, deliberate and vicious"- TNA". Tamilnet. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Sri Lankan airstrike kills 55 girls - Tamil Guardian". Tamilguardian.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  12. ^ "UNICEF: Children are victims of the conflict in Sri Lanka". Unicef.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Sri Lankan schoolgirls killed and injured amid escalating violence". Unicef.org. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Dispute over Sri Lanka air raids". BBC News. 2006-08-15. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  15. ^ "Sri Lanka says age of enemy no concern". Reuters. August 15, 2006. Archived from the original on May 6, 2007.
  16. ^ "Unicef: Bombed orphans were not Tamil Tigers". Mail and Guardian Online. August 15, 2006.
  17. ^ "Police in Sri Lanka arrest 3 suspected female rebels at hospital". International Herald Tribune. September 1, 2006.
  18. ^ a b Senchcholai bombing – 14 August 2006, NESOHR.org; accessed August 2, 2017.
  19. ^ The 2006 Senchcholai Massacre: An Ominous Sign Of An Impending Human Catastrophe Engineered By An Evil Regime

External links